TGI Athlete Network

Trans, Gender-Non Conforming, and Intersex Athletes

Profile: Joe Kaiser

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Joe Kaiser!  Joe is an amazing skater, referee, and a founding member of the TGI Athlete Network!

Name: Joe “Rude Gus” KaiserRudeGus

Pronouns: None, please

How do you identify or describe your gender?

I identify as transgender and exist as transfeminine. What I am has never been as important as where I’m going. Being a lady doesn’t make me any less of a man.

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

I currently play roller derby for the Chicago Bruise Brothers and am the head referee for the Chicago Red Hots. I played JV volleyball in high school and used to swim at the YMCA.

What’s your favorite position?

I am a pure blocker. I prefer to take up an enormous amount of the track so that jammers are left with few options. I also have a tremendous posterior that can scoot people in lots of places they don’t want to go.

Are you a professional athlete?

I’m a software developer. I’m currently with ParkWhiz, so definitely look us up next time you’re looking for parking.

How would you describe your playing style?

Positional. I’m generally one of the biggest skaters on the track. Generally, 90% of my success can be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. It is very difficult to get around me, and I can use the full force of my body to change an opponent’s position.

What do you to get ready for competition? 

Shut my brain off. I gotta get real dumb and chill and lower the stakes. As long as I play in a perfectly centered vacuum I can’t get in my own head.

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?

I refereed the 2013 USARS Men’s Championship game in Tulsa. It was the most heated game I’ve ever officiated, and it was the 10th game I’d refereed in three days, but the whole crew stayed calm and under control. It got incredibly physical, we had been understaffed all weekend, we were all exhausted, and the final score was determined by a single point – but I’ve never been more confident that we knocked it out of the park and did our duty as officials. The Bruise Brothers recently bouted the Capital City Hooligans and during one of the jams after their jammer picked up lead I effectively knocked their entire pack over to get our jammer out. That was fun.

Who are your athletic heroes?

Sound Guardian, the head ref for that USARS bout, is definitely a hero. In terms of competitive athletics, I’m gonna have to pull a McConaughey and say future me. Gotta keep chasing the person that I haven’t yet become.

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

The first time I went to see a women’s roller derby bout, I got exceptionally emotional. I didn’t have the right equipment to do something that resonated with me really strongly. I joined both a men’s league as a skater and a women’s league as a referee and in both communities I became comfortable with myself and my identity. Without an athletic community, especially one with a mostly female power structure, I don’t think I could have been as confident in the strength of my identity.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

The inability to self-identify.

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

When Ms. Dr. Simonis and I gave our first talk on gender policy in roller derby to a host league, the last question from the audience was whether we planned on giving the talk again. And we got applause. Maybe we are making progress. Also, the passage of the MRDA non-discrimination policy was pretty exciting and proud. It’s the most progressive policy I’m aware of in athletics, and I hope it helps a lot of people.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t cast yourself as a stereotype. Take pride in what you were given and what you did with it. Build your own box if it helps, but don’t let anyone put you in theirs.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

My tremendous coaches, my friendly teammates, and bona fide American hero Trannysaurus wrex.

 

This is the seventh in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to join our group or be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Please like us on Facebook!

Profile: Kelly Matthew Vanna

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet martial artist Kelly Mathew Vanna!

Name: Kelly Matthew VannaKM Vanna

Pronouns: He/His

How do you identify or describe your gender?

Female to Male transgender

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido

Are you a professional athlete?

Yes, but I also have a “day job”. I work at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago

How would you describe your playing style?

Hmmm is bad ass considered a style? 😉

What do you to get ready for competition? 

On my way to a demonstration or a competition, I’m usually blasting the Foo Fighters in the car. Right before a performance, I can be found meditating and stretching.

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?

Appearing on Steve Harvey’s Big Time show and also winning a bronze medal at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

Everyone has a God given talent. I truly believe that. Martial arts is MY God given talent. Martial arts has given me the ability to believe in myself.  I have become a more confident and well-rounded person because of martial arts.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

Just being accepted as the people that we are.  Personally, I have been made to feel as if I were a science experiment. (Yet after people watch me break a stack of bricks, they seem to change their minds!!)  People have to look past the TGI and look more at the ATHLETES that we are!!

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

One moment that stands out more than any was the night that I received my 4th degree black belt.  My parents were there and my instructor looked at my mother and said “I remember when Mrs. Vanna signed Kelly up for a 3 month summer program. She said ‘Kelly won’t finish the 3 months!’”  28 years later, same instructor, I’ve made it way past the 3 months, and am now one of two 4th degree black belts that my instructor has ever graduated. I have become a Master of my craft. Not a more empowering moment in my life than that!

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

It’s not going to be an easy road being a TGI athlete!! Do your best, shrug off the negativity, always be true to yourself!!!!

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

H. Thomas Cameron and my family for NEVER EVER giving up on me!!!!

 

This is the fifth in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to join the group or be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Please like us on Facebook!

Profile: Andee Scallion

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Andee Scallion!

Name: Andee “Miss Identified” Scallion

Pronouns: She/HerMiss Identified

How do you identify or describe your gender?

I am a transgender woman and identify as a transgender woman.  At first I was afraid to tell anyone, because I thought I would be asked to leave my team. But I felt that I was hiding something from people. After my league put a gender clause in our by-laws, I began to come out to the people I had befriended, and I am now very openly transgender.

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

I currently play roller derby with Hartford Area Roller Derby.  I have also played Pee Wee Football and Little League Baseball and ski.

What is your typical or favorite position?

Jammer is my favorite position of all.

Are you a professional athlete?  If not, what do you do as a “day job”?

I work in the printing division of a direct mail company. My job is scheduling production on 6 web presses 24/7. I am also the purchasing manager and purchase all the blank roll stock we use.

How would you describe your playing style?

I am aggressive as a  jammer. I like to go through the middle of the pack.  I am working on improving as a blocker.

What do you to get ready for competition? 

I like to listen to classic rock before a bout, have a small meal, foam roll my leg muscles, and spend 30 minutes stretching.

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?

I won game MVP in my third bout, which was my team’s first loss of the 2013 season. I also got 6 penalties…lol.

Who are your athletic role models?

Fallon Fox for her inner strength and Lindsey Vonn for being the most determined downhill skier I have ever seen.

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

Sports have given me an opportunity to be involved, they have empowered me as a woman and as a  transgender athlete, and raised my self esteem and confidence.  Being an athlete has helped me to feel included and accepted as a woman.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

Acceptance by others in the league, by people who come to watch, and by other leagues, as well as overcoming the notion of an inherent advantage based upon birth gender.

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

When I tried out, I had never really skated before.  I went to an open recruitment night in May of 2012 just for fun, but I fell so many times that my hip was deeply bruised. I came back the next week and tried it again.  Finally, in January 2013, I tried out for the Beat City Bedrockers and made the team.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

Don’t ever give up pursuing what you want to do.  Don’t be afraid to try and never give up.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

Hartford Area Roller Derby for putting a gender clause in their by-laws for me.

Any shameless self promotion?

I am in the 2014 Women for Change Miss Represented Calendar and in Project Woman Defined.

 

This is the sixth in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to join the group or be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Please like us on Facebook!

Profile: Kai Scott

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Kai Scott!

2013 Victoria Marathon (Photo purchased from MarathonFoto.com)

2013 Victoria Marathon (Photo purchased from MarathonFoto.com)

Name: Kai Scott

Pronouns: he/him

How do you identify or describe your gender?

Trans guy

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

Currently, I’m a competitive runner in a variety of distances, including 10K and marathon (42K). I also swim as a form of cross-training.  In the past, I have played on basketball and volleyball teams.

What’s your typical/favorite position:

Fast  🙂

Are you a professional athlete? If not, what do you do as a “day job”?

I am a consultant to the Canadian mining industry on social issues.  In particular, I conduct social effects assessments, traditional knowledge studies, and engagement/consultation activities throughout northwest British Columbia, Nunavut, Ontario, Alberta, and Northwest Territories.  I absolutely love my job working closely and collaboratively with a range of Aboriginal groups in the most stunning (and sometimes very remote) parts of the country.  I do a lot of traveling, so running is an easy sport to maintain while I’m on the road.  I pack my running shoes and shorts and I’m all set.  Well, unless I’m running up in the Arctic in -60C weather and then there are a few more layers involved.  And really I can’t call it running; it’s more of a shuffle at those temperatures.

How would you describe your running style? 

Relaxed and joyful. Recently, I have been through a lot with all the medical and social aspects of my gender journey (including hormone therapy and surgery).  So, I treat running as a release of tension/stress and also as an expression of pure joy for all the things I’ve been able to sort out and take action in my life.  My main race objective these days is crossing the finish line with a big silly grin on my face.  My finishing time is secondary to celebrating how amazing life is through the movement of my body.

What do you to get ready for competition?

I used to get really nervous and nauseous before races.  Now, I don’t put as much pressure on myself.  My present attitude is about trusting more in all the preceding training runs that have brought me to the start line. Before starting a race, I say a prayer of gratitude to the universe that I have a body and I get to move it through some beautiful setting.

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?

Given how recent the physical aspects of my gender confirmation started and that most of my running achievements have occurred in my female form, I feel that I have just started my racing career at the age of 33.  That is not to negate my previous racing experience, which was important in getting me here, but I feel I have not raced against my peers.  So, a special race for me was the Vancouver Sun Run in April 2013, which was the first race I ran as Kai in the male category.  I was running with a binder, so my time was nowhere near my current speed.  Regardless, I felt more connected and alive during that race then ever before.  I felt ecstatic.

Who are your athletic possibility models/role models/heroes?

There are so many…Growing up, I had a life-size poster of Michael Jordan, who was my idol.  I measured myself against the poster every day and frequently dreamt of joining the NBA when I grew up.  In these dreams, I bound my chest and shaved off my hair.

Nowadays, I look up to Canadian marathon Olympian, Dylan Wykes, who I occasionally see speeding around town.  I also have trans male athletes, Chris Mosier and Kye Allums, who I admire for their strength, determination, dedication, and courage to be themselves, declare that in public settings, and complete at high levels.

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

For me, running literally saved my life.  Whether it was dealing with dysphoria, frequent moves, being picked on at school, or a tough home life, running was my reprieve and my coping mechanism.  It was (and continues to be) my biggest gesture of self-love and affirmation.  Running was something I was good at and it made me feel so good – almost untouchable by all the troubles around me.  While in the past I was literally and figuratively running away from insurmountable problems, I have turned a corner and now I am running for joy, acceptance, and excitement.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

I think there is a huge need for public awareness about and support for the unique needs and challenges facing TGI athletes. There is still a lot of ignorance, fear, and hate.  I think more options need to be made available for a variety of identities.  I see more space opening up, but it’s at a slow pace. Navigation of showers and change rooms (and other gendered spaces) is also tricky for TGI athletes.  Personally, I got through the discomfort to find what works for me and also to share that with other TGI athletes and persons.  I am also really grateful to high profile TGI athletes, who come out and shared their stories.  I know they don’t need to, but it’s truly a gift to others and gives us all a vision for a better future.

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

I jokingly call my pre-surgery era my binder training phase.  Wearing a binder while running is akin to high altitude training.  The common theme between the two is a sense of constant lack of oxygen. I would be gasping for air during runs and trailing behind my running buddies. I felt frustrated and isolated.  I was being held back considerably.  Then, I got top surgery in May of 2013.

One of the most empowering moments for me was the first time I ran shirtless after top surgery.  It was an exhilarating experience as I sped along the seawall with the wind blowing on my chest.  I didn’t care about the stares or the questions, I felt free for the first time and I was walking on air.  Since then, I have been unstoppable.  Gender affirming surgery has freed up energy formerly tied up in dysphoria.  I have poured this extra energy into a variety of passions, including running.  As such, my pace has quickened seemingly overnight.  I used to have a hard time maintaining a 4:30/km pace.  Now, I barely break a sweat and I’m comfortable at 4:00/km.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

I would recommend that young TGI athletes use sport for positive purposes as a way to relieve stress, reach goals, escape troubles, and feel good.  I would dissuade young TGI athletes from using sport as a way to punish or hurt themselves.  During a particular difficult chapter in my life, I misused running.  I ran myself into the ground.  Running became a source of illness and injury.  It bordered on self-harm as I acted out how upset and devastated I felt inside.

Also, it’s not talked a lot about, but there is a lot of over-exercising among trans men as a dysphoria management tool.  I ran seven days a week at one point so I could minimize the curves and bumps on my body.  But really I was a shell of a person with a lack of mental and physical strength.  That’s a scary use of sport.  So, I would encourage young TGI athletes to check in with themselves about their motivation and emotional state and whether doing their sport that day will serve them or exacerbate their situation.  If it’s the latter, taking a day of rest is a good idea.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

My gender journey has been amazing!  There are so many people to thank and honour.  In particular, especially as it pertains to sport, I am so grateful to my dear friends in my running club, the Vancouver Frontrunners.  They are the ones that I first informed about my gender identity.  It’s within the safety of this group that I quietly explored my relationship to a male name and pronouns as I began my gender journey about a year ago.  They gladly joined me on this journey and were patient while I changed between names, never missing a beat.  They were so supportive, respectful, and truly celebrated me as an individual and as one of the guys.  It’s in their midst that I have finally grown up to be a man.

Any shameless self-promotion?

As part of my role on the board of the Vancouver Frontrunners, I have made an effort to develop trans and gender variant inclusive policies, procedures, and spaces.  As part of this endeavour, I developed a TGI-specific page on the website, which includes information on the VFR showering policy, registration process, and resources. I am also excited about the introduction of a third race category for our upcoming Vancouver Pride Run and Walk in July, which the Vancouver Frontrunners organizes every year.  As such, we will have the following race categories with prizing:

1)      Female (cis/trans);

2)      Male (cis/trans); and

3)      Gender Variant.

It is hoped that this will not only increase participation among often marginalized parts of the LGBT community, but also provide a teachable moment to expand language and understanding to a broader audience (e.g., cisgender folks).  I would love to see my fellow TGI athletes join us for this fun and momentous occasion.


This is the fourth in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Please like us on Facebook!

Profile: Angela Reid

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Angela Reid!

Name: Angela ‘Easy Break Oven’ Reid

Pronouns: She/Her, although I don’t mind Zie/Hir eitherEBO

How do you identify or describe your gender? 

I’m a woman, who also happens to be transgender.

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

Until I came out, I was pretty much a casual, solo-sport person.  I love mountain biking, snowboarding, and SCUBA diving.  Since transition, I’ve fallen in love with roller derby. It’s the only team sport I’ve ever played, and still feels like the only one I’d ever fit in with.  Edmonton’s Oil City Derby Girls took me in, at the time I was their first trans skater (possibly the first in the province as well) – they really pushed me to improve as player and I soon joined their All-star team.  Thanks to a recent job transfer, I’m currently skating with the Calgary Roller Derby Association’s All-Star team as we prepare for our first season as a WFTDA league.

What’s your typical/favorite position?

I’m pretty much a career jammer.  Sometimes they’ll let me pivot but that’s usually as a set up for a star pass!  I’d like to improve my blocking skills to be a more rounded player, but it’s hard to find opportunities.

Are you a professional athlete? If not, what do you do as a “day job”?

I’m an electronics technician for a large oilfield service provider.  I’ve been with the company for six years, and currently, I mostly work with directional drilling sensor systems.

How would you describe your playing style? 

Airborne!  I’m known for my jumps, but I’ve also had people describe me as ‘crazylegs’ ‘spideylegs’ and compared to ‘The Gazelle from Hell’.

What do you to get ready for competition? 

Warpaint has been a prime way for me to focus in the hours leading up to a bout.  I usually like to do something that plays up to the bout’s theme, if there is one, otherwise I just use my imagination.  The most elaborate so far was a full kabuki mask, but usually it’s something a little easier to do, like a barcode on my cheek or red stripe across my eyes.  I like some variation.  Music is also a huge booster: fast, loud, and angry.  Hole or Rage Against the Machine work well for this!

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?

I was named captain of Team Alberta for the 2014 season, so I’m looking forward to playing with our provincial superteam against some of the other provinces this year.  It’s hard to pick a most memorable moment though, through derby I’ve shared a lot of high points with my teams!

Who are your athletic heroes?

Hands down, Demanda Riot and Suzy Hotrod are my derby heroes.  But I get a lot of inspiration from the freshmeat actually, anytime I see a new skater take a risk learning a new move, or push their endurance further, I’m reminded that ‘Oh, yeah, I need to be doing that!’

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

It’s provided huge physical and mental benefits.  Tracking the play, the position of the other jammer, the clock ticking down, and picking a line through a swarm of people leaves you no time to worry about dysphoria, passing, or other mental baggage that intrudes during the rest of the day.  But another big benefit, that I didn’t expect, is that I’ve educated more people on trans issues through sports than I ever managed in direct trans activism.  Seeing a trans woman working with her ‘cisters’ as part of team has significant impact on the public.  Suddenly she’s not the ‘other’, she’s just another bruise swappin’ derby girl!

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

Policies and the ability to afford participating in sports due to socioeconomic factors are two big ones.  Most sports organizations are way behind at managing TGI inclusion, and often the policies that are in place have requirements that either difficult to meet or undesirable.  Basing eligibility on surgical status is beyond ridiculous.  I still haven’t come across a sport that uses one’s genitalia, someone please correct me if I’m wrong!  In the meantime, lowered job prospects and having to save for uninsured medical assistance limits one’s ability to participate.  Time for training, league dues, equipment, and travel costs all add up, and for some folks, keeping up with life expenses and transition expenses consumes all their resources.

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

I was invited to guest coach with the Greater Edmonton Junior Derby Association, and later with the Calgary junior team (the Youthanizers)!  Juniors are a force to be reckoned with and as they graduate into the adult leagues they are going to dominate the sport of roller derby.  In had particular impact for me though, as the invitation demonstrated the total rejection of fear-mongering tropes spread by local anti-trans politicians.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

There are more of you out there than you know!  I’ve been approached privately on several occasions by parents of trans kids looking for advice.  If it’s safe for you to be out and proud, you just might be the possibilities model they so desperately need.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

All my old besties at OCDG for being so awesome, and all my new besties at CRDA for doubling-down on the awesomeness!

Any shameless self-promotion? (Website, blog, etc?)

I have a youtube channel where I post derby clips, including many headcam videos from the jammer perspective.

And of course my wonderful league!

This is the third in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Profile: Krysteen Mitchem

Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Krysteen Mitchem!

KM

Name:  Krysteen Mitchem

Pronouns:  I prefer the female ones.

How do you identify or describe your gender? 

Female (more or less)  But I am very up front about being trans (male to female).  I spent the first 20 years being in the closet, its all in the open now.

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

I play softball for Pitch, Please! in Seattle.   In the past I played roller derby in Seattle and I coached beginning skaters at PFM roller derby for a couple years.   I have also been involved in several martial arts, Tae kwon do, Kajukenbo, Aikido and others.

What’s your typical/favorite position? 

Currently I play short stop.   When I was a kid playing baseball I played 2nd base but only in the last couple years have the confidence to move to a much busier position.

Are you a professional athlete? If not, what do you do as a “day job”? 

No.   My day job is a night job at a grocery store. 

Are you sponsored? If so, by whom?

No, but Easton makes the best bats just in case they want to give me a discount…

How would you describe your playing style? 

I am really really hard on myself and have terribly high expectations.  But I am nothing like that with my team.    If I miss a grounder I will obsess about stopping the next.  If someone else misses then I assume they tried their best.   It makes me very competitive but entirely focused inward.

What do you to get ready for competition? 

Always music is the trigger to focus.  I also always arrive really early.  I broke my PCL in one of my knees 5 years ago which messed up some other things.  So now I have to go through a routine of exercises to remind that knee how to not bend in ways that I don’t care for.

What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?  

There are three that come to mind.  Getting voted MVP by my softball team last season.  A walk off home run last year.  And my first home run at 36 years old.  Before quitting baseball in high school I only swung for the fence once, the last time I was at bat.  That ball was caught with spitting distance of a 300ft fence.  I was so mad at myself for not trying before then and sad because I though I wouldn’t get the chance again.  But two years ago playing my first season of slowpitch I put one out (first of many) and I am not going to lie, I cried a little. 

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person? 

The impacts are pretty wide ranging.  Its nice when you are accepted into a group setting to have some sense of normalcy return to your life.  Especially because when transitioning, at least for me, I was assuming sports would be something I would no longer be involved in.  Although that can be undercut with surprising ease by an offhand negative comment.  Still,  the positive effects carry over into life in general.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes? 

It’s simply the very small sample size of people we are dealing with.   There are not many of us out there as a percentage.  Many leagues haven’t had to deal with this at all yet.  Generally after someone comes through and there is a reason for discussion and rule writing people realize it isn’t a big deal.   I was the rule tester for the derby league I joined and as uncomfortable as it was at times being so visible in the process, I feel better knowing the people that joined after me didn’t have to deal with any of it.    Since there are so few we need people that are willing to be open so its a non issue when the next one shows up.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes? 

When things are difficult remember there were people that probably had it worse before you and the people after will benefit from the resistance you shoulder now.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge? 

Emerald City Softball Association and my team, Pitch, Please.   All the people that have had the nerve to ask whatever respectful questions they had rather then live with assumptions in their own mind.

Any shameless self-promotion?

I have group on Facebook called Seaspace, its an astronomy nerd group.  Even though Seattle is not an astronomically friendly place.  And I am pepper_mental on twitter, which I use for gathering news.


This is the second in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

Please like us on Facebook!

Profile: Maxwell Schneider

The first of our profiles on out TGI Athletes, meet Maxwell Schneider!

 

Name: Maxwell SchneiderSmacktivist

Pronouns: They/Them/Their

How do you identify or describe your gender?

I was assigned female at birth and I identify as transmasculine, which is a nonbinary identity that is masculine of center.

What sports do you currently play or have you played before?

I currently play roller derby for the Ohio Roller Girls in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. I have played girls’ competitive ice hockey with the Ohio Flames (Midwest Elite Hockey League) for about 9 years then played for the Ohio State Women’s Club Hockey Team, and played co-ed ice and roller hockey before that. I have also played travel soccer and swam on a local swim team. Played some intramural basketball and softball briefly as a youngster.

What’s your favorite position?

Upright.

Are you a professional athlete? If not, what do you do as a “day job”?

I wish. I work as an employment coach at a local gluten-free bakery, doing job skills training and overseeing supported employees that have autism. And I make music and zines but don’t really get paid to do that.

How would you describe your playing style?

Aggressive, dedicated, and focused. I need to try to have more fun with it, sometimes.

What do you to get ready for competition? 

I need to spend a lot of time alone. I do not like to be very talkative or social when I’m nervous and I’m pretty much always nervous before games, so I like to listen to music and warm up/stretch out on my own to get focused and calm.

What’s your most memorable sports moment?

Winning MVP Jammer at the WFTDA 2012 North Central Regionals and the moment we beat Rat City at the WFTDA 2013 Championships to move on to play Gotham.

Who are your athletic heroes?

My heroes are my friends. The people I know who inspire me to work hard and be honest and accountable and driven every day. So my teammates, mostly, and some other good buds I have in the derby community.

What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?

In some sports settings, they have meant compartmentalization and erasure of my identity. They have meant perpetuating gender stereotypes and keeping me from recognizing certain things about who I am. But, more recently and most importantly, roller derby has helped me discover more about who I am and has fostered a positive environment for me to explore that identity and for it to flourish. Derby has also helped me to become more comfortable with my body physically.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?

I can only speak to my experiences. But personally, as someone with a non-binary identity, I think identity erasure and general trans inclusion is incredibly pressing. Most sports are either co-ed or mens’/women’s specific and many of the mens’/women’s sports are gender segregated in a way that is not inclusive of binary or nonbinary trans folks. My biggest struggle is figuring out where nonbinary folks fit in the grand scheme of things. Professional and highly competitive sports are generally always gender segregated and it makes it hard to know where there is a place for me to compete when I don’t necessarily feel comfortable on men’s teams OR women’s teams.

Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.

This may seem really small, but recently, at practice, we were finishing up a drill and a teammate said, “great job, ladies” and they looked at me and said, “Oh! No! Just kidding! Good job, people!”. It may seem like a small and seemingly insignificant thing, but helping people to understand and respect my identity and pronouns and how that affects their language is a really important and powerful thing and it matters. Little things matter.

What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?

Make a space for yourself. Because they world isn’t going to make one for you. Figure out where you feel comfortable and try to figure out how to make it work. Create a good support group for you. Find other people who understand TGI struggles, because sometimes, when things are confusing or you don’t feel like you fit, it’s nice to be validated by someone who gets it and it’s nice to have community in that struggle. Finally, take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to be safe and comfortable.

Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?

My derby league for always being so supportive and understanding. My family for their endless love, support, and encouragement. And my good buds for all of the same reasons! And, of course, the Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex Athletes Network for existing as a source of education and support. <3

Any shameless self-promotion?

http://outxofxstepx.blogspot.com/

 

This is the first in our series of TGI athlete profiles.  Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us. 

If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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